VW Golf GTI Clubsport S blows out 40 candles with new Nurburgring record

Published: 04 May 2016

► It’s the fastest VW Golf GTI yet
► New Clubsport S marks 40 years
► Unveiled at Wörthersee, new ’Ring record 

Volkswagen is marking four decades of Golf GTI with a special uprated version of the hot hatch – and it’s only gone and blown the production FWD Nurburgring lap record wide open.

The lightweight new 2016 VW Golf GTI Clubsport S has surpassed the Nordschleife laptime set by the Honda Civic Type R last year, with a blistering 7min 49.21sec flier. VW claims that, as a result, the Clubsport S is the quickest production FWD car yet to lap the Nordschleife.

Driving the 165mph Golf was 28-year-old German racing driver Benny Leuchter, who was on hand at the announcement at the 2016 Wörthersee VW festival in Austria. Watch the video of the record ‘Ring lap here.

The GT3 of GTIs: meet the new Clubsport S

This is a track-ready two-seater Golf and just 400 will be made worldwide, all individually numbered. With its appetite for hot hatches, the UK will likely become the biggest market for the special anniversary model.

The new 2016 VW Golf GTI Clubsport S

The specs of the tickled-up, three-door-only Clubsport S look like this:

  • Engine 1984cc four-cylinder turbo TSI
  • Outputs 308bhp, 280lb ft between 1700-5300rpm
  • Top speed 165mph
  • 0-62mph 5.8sec
  • Unladen weight 1285kg
  • Wheels 19in alloy
  • Tyres Michelin Sport Cup 2, 235/35 ZR19 
  • Transmission Six-speed manual, front-wheel drive

It’s gone on a significant diet to strip out unnecessary weight: there are no rear seats at all, the battery is smaller, there’s less sound deadening and fripperies such as parcel shelf, floor mats and even bonnet dampers are junked. The front subframe is aluminium, too.

End result? It’s 30kg lighter than the Golf Clubsport we drove in 2015. There’s a Nordschleife setting which arms the Dynamic Chassis Control, steering, exhaust and throttle to maximum attack, while the brakes are upgraded to cope with the extra thrust on offer. 

Only three colours are available, all referencing the original launch palette back in 1976: Tornado Red, Pure White and Deep Black Pearl Effect. Anoraks take note – the roof of production versions will always be painted black.

A new Nurburgring lap record: the Golf GTI Clubsport S

It’s said to sound great, too; with a 10mm wider exhaust, VW claims a significant improvement in aural treats – including some pop-bang wizardry when downshifting.

A fast Golf beyond the R

The Clubsport S means the evergreen Golf range continues to grow apace. It is faster than the all-wheel-drive Golf R and looks set to be the pinnacle of the range – at least until the long-awaited R420 arrives, assuming it survives the #Dieselgate scandal cuts…

Click here to read our long-term test of the regular VW Golf GTI Mk7

By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet

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